Teaching online ( do not panic)

Before we begin, let me tell you a story.  Picture this, a heavily pregnant teacher, who just got out of a 4 hour class, is standing to browse a book title “teaching online’. This, she muses, is a fairytale book! Who would not love to sit on a computer and teach!

Now, four years later me looks back again and say ‘ well, I made the fairytale come true, but is it really?’

My name is Fatima Taha, and I have been teaching for 12 years (two of which are online).

Who would have thought that online teaching, which was heavily criticized as a less effective way to deliver a lesson owing to the physical distancing and the lack of eye to eye contact, as argued by some, would become the first option for many fellow teachers?

Okay, let me tell you why online teaching is not the fairytale I imagined it to be. But do not be put off if you are reading this. I am just going to share my experience with the challenges I faced and how I overcame them.

First and foremost, there are different types of teachers who are forced into online learning due to the COVID 19. Some of us are already employed in schools or centered and the whole organization made the shift. Others, like myself, are the private tutors who decided to bring our own classes into this virtual world.

Most likely, the first category get, hopefully, enough support from the organizations they work with. However, the latter one face difficulties in finding students who are willing to shift into the online world as well as establishing a name for themselves.

So here are some tips to help you through:

  1. Naturally, Facebook and YouTube are the two most go-to platforms you need to use; these are where your customers are. Just be ready to learn other skills, such as sales and marketing! That is your first challenge.

Do not panic, you can learn how to market for your self through these futurelearn free courses.


    2.You also need to make yourself seen and heard by creating a range of free lessons for students to try. After all, nobody like to buy the unknown.

     3.The second challenge is choosing the right tools. Believe me when I tell you that you need to invest in some digital tools such as the famous Zoom programme. You can always use other programmes such as SkyPe and Google Due but Zoom is the most convenient of them all.

Again, do not panic! This particular course will help you with understanding those tools


         4.The third challenge,  you have been teaching for a while in a physical classroom, chances are teaching is by now your second nature that is why I empathize with you if you feel overwhelmed. Therefore, check this course which does not only show you how to How to plan and deliver online skills lessons but also How to continue your professional development as an online teacher


Here is also a link to my NILETESOL 2020 conference presentation about how to teach online.


However, here is a couple of take away ideas that can help you:

- Do not re-invent the wheel. Do not spend too much time planning lesson plans and PowerPoint slides because they already exist on slideshare.com

- Zoom is the most convenient free platform. Trust me, I looked at them all.

- Always share the course syllabus and aims with students, as you do in regular classes.

-The phrase " a happy teacher means a happy classroom" has never been more true. You need to take care of your physical and psychological health, or you will burn out very quickly. Trust me, I know!


That is my own experience, how about you? Are you teaching online? Did you just start teaching online? What are your challenges?

No votes yet

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

Sign up to our newsletter for teaching ideas and free resources

We will process your data to send you our newsletter and updates based on your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. Read our privacy policy for more information.